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Bet365 to move operations to Malta post-Brexit

Niji Narayan

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In a significant development, Bet365 has decided to move its operations to Malta from Gibraltar as soon as the UK completes its Brexit process next year, according to a report published in The Sunday Times of Malta.

Bet365, fully owned by a British family, had a revenue of €1.5 billion in 2015. The move will see about 1000 jobs relocating to Malta from Gibraltar, which will undoubtedly boost Malta’s economy.

The owners of Bet365 have already inked a sale agreement to buy a large new property in the Tigné peninsula in Sliema, which will become the new hub of its operations.

The promise of sale will come into effect as soon as Brexit materialises, and the British company is expected to pay some €70 million to buy the Sliema property.

Sources close to the gambling industry told The Sunday Times of Malta that the relocation of Bet365 to Malta would be a game changer for the island, as it is expected to create a major economic boost.

“It is not every day that 1000 well-paid employees are relocated to Malta. Apart from the fact that we are talking about the largest sports betting company in the world, with some 23 million customers, 1000 new individuals and their families looking for a place to stay for quite some time on a small island will mean significant business,” the sources said.

At the same time, the sources said that there will be a downside to this “massive relocation,” as rents for housing in the area have already started increasing drastically as rumours about the move make the rounds.”

The problems of increasing congestion and overcrowding in the Tigné area will also continue to become a major problem,” the sources added.

Bet365 has been eyeing the possibility of relocating its major operations to Malta for quite some time, and this was made more likely following the UK’s Brexit referendum, in which the electorate chose to leave the EU.

Malta has become very attractive to online gambling companies due to its low taxation regime and its membership of the EU.

Already registering three companies in 2014, Hillside (New Media Malta) plc – the operating company of the Bet365 group – acquired a remote gaming licence from the Malta Gaming Authority in 2015.

At the time, the company said that this was due to “regulatory developments in various operating territories.”

Following the UK’s Brexit vote, Hillside registered a new property management company in Malta last year, increasing its paid share capital to €12.5 million to invest in the acquisition of the property in Sliema.

Last month the company finalised its plans to transfer part of its business to Malta and registered another company, Hillside (Shared Services Malta) Ltd.

Founded by Denise Coates in 2000 in Stoke-on-Trent, the company fast developed into a multimillion-euro operation with some 3500 employees across the globe.

Apart from Gibraltar, it also operates a massive business in Australia and has a small office in Ta’ Xbiex in Malta.

The company chairman, Peter Coates, Denise Coates’s father, is also the chairman and owner of Stoke City Football Club, which this year was relegated from England’s Premier League to the Championship.

A lifelong supporter of the British Labour Party, Mr Coates is known as having donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the party.

One particularly large donation coincided with the relaxation of gambling legislation and the lifting of a ban on television advertising by the UK’s Labour government in 2008.

Source: timesofmalta.com

Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.

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Word of Mouth: Influencer Marketing in the Gaming Space

George Miller

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Word of Mouth: Influencer Marketing in the Gaming Space
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Traditionally, Word of Mouth Marketing was considered as a free form of advertising or promotion, except today it’s no longer free. Nonetheless, nothing speaks volumes other than “Influencer Marketing”.

You might be surprised to learn that the gaming industry today is worth over a hundred billion dollars. According to new figures, in 2018 alone, the gaming industry generated an astounding $135 billion amassing a growth of 10.9% from 2017. This year, it is set to make $152.1 billion in global earnings.

These numbers say a lot about how the video game industry is a tough market to crack particularly because, with figures like these, the competition is very stiff, trends are fast-changing, and innovation is at an all-time high. Numerous companies have peaked in prior years but had failed to sustain that success because they were too late to adopt the latest technology or they ran out of creativity to improve their existing game offerings. But today, nothing says “viral” than getting your product or service out through viral marketing.

Live Video Game Streaming

The astronomical growth of the video game industry has opened doors to varied forms of businesses, marketing, and advertising, one of which is live video game streaming. Whoever said people hated watching other people play video games? That’s certainly not Twitch.

Twitch, a live streaming video platform, is a subsidiary of Amazon that focuses primarily on the gaming community. Twitch provides an avenue for gamers and gaming enthusiasts to share and watch their gameplays. Aside from hosting live streams, Twitch is an interactive platform that allows its community to connect with fellow players via Twitch Chat or to leave comments in real-time.

Much like YouTube, Twitch was successful in diversifying its revenue streams. Twitch monetizes its platform through advertisements, subscriptions, and merchandise sales. On average, Twitch has more than 15 million daily active users, making it the leading live video game streaming service in the world to date.

The success of Twitch has drawn in other major players such as YouTube and Facebook. YouTube Gaming Live, for instance, is a specialized channel that enables users to share their live gameplays and stream other people’s gameplay videos. Facebook, on the other hand, has created Facebook Gaming, which similarly, allows users to stream, broadcast, and share their favorite games on the Facebook app. Nonetheless, recent statistics show that Twitch still holds as the dominant player in the live game streaming industry accounting for the largest viewership in comparison to Youtube Gaming Live and Facebook Gaming.

Breaking Into the Limelight

With the ever-increasing number of audiences and patrons, we expect steady growth in the live game streaming industry. A strong and loyal fanbase is one of the strengths of the gaming community. And with people interested in watching gameplays after gameplays of their favorite streamers, and with spectators willing to spend just to see their teams battle it out in big E-sport tournaments, only means one thing in the world of business–profits.

Nowadays, video games are no longer just a hobby, it’s a career. Just like how Instagram stars and Youtube vloggers are a thing, game influencers are celebrities in their own playing field. You have probably heard one too many times how someone broke into the millionaire’s club while playing video games and it’s true, they’re living the dream! Gaming influencers with a significant following have caught the eye of both local and multinational companies reaching out to these personalities to get them to sign a deal.

And in this industry, word of mouth holds more power and influence to convert mere spectators into purchasing viewers. A study by Google showed that 90% of avid gamers would turn to Youtube for game reviews, tips, and video game suggestions with a 64% conversion rate. No wonder streamers are raking in millions of dollars from advertisements and promotions.

Consider the case of PewDiePie as an example. PewDiePie is the top-grossing game influencer today with 101 million subscribers on YouTube and an estimated net worth of $30-$50 million. His income streams all came from online advertisements, collaborations, referrals, and online merchandise sales. His career peaked in 2013 when he was the first YouTuber to reach 15 million subscribers.

The rise to fame of game influencers disrupted the way we do traditional advertising. And in an industry that continues to grow and expand in magnitude, game influencers hold a significant role both in the gaming community and in the business scene.

Truly, “word of mouth” has never been this powerful (and expensive!) as it is today, but as long as influencers are maintaining the quality of their content and are keeping the trust of their subscribers, influencer marketing will continue to move in leaps and bounds.

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Tom Horn strengthens its expansion into Portugal with Betclic Group

George Miller

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Tom Horn strengthens its expansion into Portugal with Betclic Group
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Malta-based online casino software supplier revealed that a selection of its gaming content has been made available to online gaming operator Betclic Everest Group in Portugal.

Players in this market can now enjoy the fast-growing provider’s portfolio of engaging slots including their top performing titles like Panda’s Run, Book of Spells or a world-wide favourite 243 Crystal Fruits.

Ondrej LapidesCEO at Tom Horn Gaming said: “We’re excited to see our video slots live in Portugal with Betclic Group. Betclic’s decision to include our games in their offering is a fitting testament to quality and high standards featured in our gaming products. We’re positive our titles will enrich Betclic’s slot library and their players will appreciate them greatly.

François Dogon, Casino Games Specialist at Betclic Group added: “Tom Horn Gaming has been demonstrating the quality of its games for a while now and it was a very obvious choice for us to add their portfolio to our casino offering. I’m certain that our players will be equally impressed by the quality, innovation and amazing features Tom Horn content is renowned for.”

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Fines from the Kansspelautoriteit

George Miller

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Fines from the Kansspelautoriteit
Photo Source: linkedin.com
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

A few weeks ago we wrote about the evolution of the UK Gambling Comission. Now, let’s take a look at the Netherlands. So far, 2019 has been a lucrative year for the ‘Kansspelautoriteit’, the Dutch gaming authority. All fines were raised, and 11 casinos received such a fine. In 2018, a total of 1.9 million euros was collected in fines; this year, more than 3.5 million has been collected to date. It seems that the Dutch gaming authority is cleaning house before the legalization of online gaming takes off in January 2021. By the time the newly adopted gambling law is in effect, only casinos and gaming websites with a license from the Kansspelautoriteit can offer their services to Dutch citizens. This is good news for the Dutch: unreliable providers of online games are cracked down on and will later be excluded from the market altogether.

To maximize its effectiveness, the Kansspelautoriteit prioritizes websites that overtly offer their services to Dutch players. According to its own rules, the gaming authority watches for availability to Dutch players, offering the Dutch language on the website or appealing to Dutch players through imagery, and including the exclusively Dutch payment option iDeal. Although many other websites are still accessible to Dutch players, those websites that do not overtly cater to the Dutch market are not the priority for the Kansspelautoriteit.

Which online casinos were fined in 2019?

So far, 9 casinos were fined in 2019. The first fine this year came in February. Exinvest and 1X Corp were fined 400,000 euros. The gambling sites from these enterprises could be accessed from Dutch IP addresses, they offered the payment service iDeal, and used Dutch language on their websites. After a thorough research, it turned out these providers offered 83 other online casinos.

Well-known Casumo was fined in April. This provider, too, was available from Dutch IP addresses and offered the iDeal payment method. The terms and conditions explained that players from the Netherlands could not create a player account, which in practice proved to pose no problems at all. Casumo was fined 310,000 euros.

Casino.com also received a fine in April: this provider had to pay 200,000 euros for offering online games to the Dutch market. Because the company was fined before, the initial fine was doubled. Casino.com was also fined 50,000 euros for charging excessive administrative fees for inactive players. The total amount charged was 450,000 euros.

In June, the Kansspelautoriteit assessed provider Simbat and promotor Spinity. Simbat received a 270,000 euro fine for offering online gambling games. Spinity didn’t offer any such games itself, but was fined 100,000 euros for promoting these games.

BWin followed in August. Their fine totaled 350,000 euros and was based on offering online gambling opportunities to Dutch players, depositing money into a player account using iDeal, and offering live betting options.

The ‘award’ for highest fine goes to Unibet. Their website offered Dutch players the opportunity to place live sports bets and casino games. This provider, too, offered the iDeal payment method, and their customer support through live chat had a Dutch language option. The total fine was 470,000 euros.

The second to last fine to date went to The Stars Group, known for the online poker lobby Pokerstars. The Kansspelautoriteit fined TSG 400,000 euros for offering online games for real money. Although poker is seen as a game of skill rather than a game of chance, Dutch law does not make this distinction. The highest judicial power in the Netherlands ruled poker a game of chance in 1998.

In October, the Kansspelautoriteit announced fines for Royal Panda and LeoVegas. Both of these websites were available from Dutch IP addresses and offered the iDeal payment option. Royal Panda was fined 400,000 euros, whereas LeoVegas got off with a ‘mere’ 350,000 euros.

Raising the fines

To strengthen the efforts of the Kansspelautoriteit, fines were raised to further deter websites from offering their games to the Dutch market. The base payment went up from 150,000 euros to 200,000 euros. The final fine depends on a number of circumstances:

  • The number of active websites
  • The number of available games
  • The presence of live betting options
  • The amount in the jackpot or prize pool
  • How much can be deposited or bet
  • The size of a welcome bonus or other promotions and the presence of a VIP program
  • Charging administrative fees to inactive players
  • Providing false information to players about gambling licenses

When a casino offers live betting options (betting while a match is going on), the base fine is always raised by 75,000 euros. The same amount applies to providing false information about gambling licenses and charging administrative fees for inactive players. The current fine policy can be viewed here (Dutch).

The Kansspelautoriteit announced more measures going forward; the entire fining policy is projected to be overhauled.

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